Village of the Scary Scarecrows

Last week some friends and I were on on holiday in France, merrily driving through the beautiful countryside of the Dordogne region. Nothing out of the ordinary in that - that is, until we hit upon Saint-Genes-de-Castillon. According to Wikipedia, it's a remote village that has (at the last count in 2012) a population of 395. What this fails to specify, however, is which species it's referring to. It's fair to say we hit the brakes pretty hard when we saw this:

Nothing to see here.

Nothing to see here.

So we parked the car and carried on by foot for a closer look. Round the other side of the church we found this:

"Could you point me to the nearest hairdresser?"

"Could you point me to the nearest hairdresser?"

And this:

Sacre bleu.

Sacre bleu.

Er, and this charming lady...

She's an upstanding pillar of society. If you lean her against a wall.

She's an upstanding pillar of society. If you lean her against a wall.

At this point we thought it wise to move away from the church. It didn't make any difference:

Well I never.

Well I never.

By the time we reached the children's playground it was getting a bit creepy:

Calling John Carpenter...

Calling John Carpenter...

I really hope these ones aren't drowning a baby:

Water way to have a good time.

Water way to have a good time.

More happily, some of them were ready for a night on the tiles:

Voulez-vous acheter un croque monsieur avec moi?

Voulez-vous acheter un croque monsieur avec moi?

There's nothing like a French wedding. Between scarecrows...

"You may now stuff the bride."

"You may now stuff the bride."

Never let it be said that the French conform to their stereotype:

If he's not called John-Claude, I'll eat his hat.

If he's not called John-Claude, I'll eat his hat.

But they do like the finer things in life:

Une autre bouteille, mademoiselle?

Une autre bouteille, mademoiselle?

The smilier, the scarier...

Do you come here often?

Do you come here often?

Empty bottle of coke, sir?

The blur on this photo is due to me walking faster and/or my iphone getting scared.

The blur on this photo is due to me walking faster and/or my iphone getting scared.

Britpop has only just reached Bordeaux...

Don't Look Back in Any Way Whatsoever.

Don't Look Back in Any Way Whatsoever.

We finished off back at the church. Which promptly scared the hell out of us again.

Help us.

Help us.

It turns out that these "marionettes" are part of an annual village festival at the start of August, although our ghostly friend above doesn't seem to be celebrating much. While I'm sure that in reality this place is not like the The Wicker Man in the slightest, if we'd turned the corner and stumbled upon this it would have made a lot of sense.

So if you're off to Bordeaux on your holidays, do yourself a favour and pop over to Saint-Genes-de-Castillon. Although you do so at your peril. Bonnes vacances!

 

Jon HarveyComment